TPO vs EPDM

Once of the hardest decisions most building owners make when deciding on a flat roofing system is whether to install a TPO roof or an EPDM roof. The decision is difficult because both are excellent flat roofing products that are similarly priced and have unique attributes. What the “better roof system” is depends largely on your building and how it is used.

A TPO Versus EPDM comparison chart is below. For more information on each product, check out our TPO roofing system page and our EPDM roofing system page.

TPO Versus EPDM
TPOEPDM Advantage
Years Used as Roofing ProductOver 30 YearsOver 40 YearsEPDM
Base ProductPolyolefins (Polypropylene,Polyethylene) / PlasticsSynthetic RubberNeutral
ColorWhite, Gray, Tan + Pallet of colors if over 100,000 Square FeetBlackTPO
Temperature Impact on RoofCools RoofHeats roofTPO if lots of rooftop units. EPDM if minimal rooftop units. *EPDM melts small amounts of snow if black EPDM is exposed. Once roof is completely snow covered, doesn’t help at all.)
Seaming technologyHeat WeldedAfter 1980, 3” or 6” Seam Tape.Before 1980, liquid adhesivesTPO
Thicknesses.045 to .080.045 to .090Neutral
ReinforcedAlways ReinforcedReinforced or Non-ReinforcedNeutral
Puncture ResistanceGood to excellent, depending on thicknessGood to excellent, depending on thicknessNeutral
Chemical ResistanceGoodPoorTPO
Environmental ImpactExcellentModerateTPO
Slippery With MoistureYesYes – ModerateEPDM
Known ProblemsEffective welding requires experience.Seams come apart over time.Grease and other chemicals deteriorate product.Creates hot environments for rooftop equipment.Depends on building!

 

Keep in mind that the roof temperature at or near the roof mounted HVAC equipment can be critical to the units demand and operating costs.